Do you realize there is such thing as absolute truth? Do you realize there is such thing as right and wrong? Do you realize there is such thing as good and evil? Do you realize that we all get to choose? Do you realize that our choices have outcomes? Do you realize that our decisions and our actions have consequences? Do you realize that your thoughts do matter? Do you realize that your beliefs do matter? Do you realize that your actions are driven by them both?
So when you think about your life, how are you aligned? What is the impact of that alignment on yourself and on the world around you?
Are you being fair to one another? Are you taking advantage of others? Are you worshipping people or things that won’t help and are leading you down a trail to destruction? Are you putting your trust in things that will return void? will have no return? Are you living a life that being deceptive? stealing? killing? committing adultery? lying under oath? Do you see this being done by others? If you see something, do you say something?
Why not turn to God and align with Him by being obedient to His commands?
What will happen if you get what you want?
Will be the outcomes and consequences?
Let’s consider what Jeremiah has to share today as there are many parallels throughout time with what is taking place right now…
Jeremiah Speaks at the Temple
1The lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2“Go to the entrance of the lord’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the lord! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The lord’s Temple is here! The lord’s Temple is here!” 5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the lord, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13While you were doing these wicked things, says the lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.’
Judah’s Persistent Idolatry
16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’
The Valley of Slaughter
30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the lord. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the lord, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.
–from Jeremiah 7
Do you hear what the news is telling you? Do you hear how it varies by source? Do you know what is truth? Do you realize which is truth and which is deception? Do you realize what is truth and what is false?
Do you see where you are at? Did you fall down? Will you get back up? Are you on the wrong road? Will you turn around in order to get back on track?
I really don’t want to see history repeat itself and watch people walk away from God and not turn back. I don’t want them to fall and not get back up. I don’t want them to be clueless of where they are at. The truth will set them free — if they are willing to hear it and receive it!
Don’t be deceived by greed! Don’t be deceived by frauds!
Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a peace which really isn’t peaceful.
Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of chaos or craziness you are able to find a peace that goes beyond all understanding?
Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a hope that is more like wishing?
Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of trials and troubles you have hope beyond your circumstances?
1“In that day,” says the lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
Deception by False Prophets
4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the lord’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the lord.
13I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the lord, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the lord.
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the lord, have spoken!”
Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah
18My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people;
it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the lord abandoned Jerusalem?” the people ask.
“Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
and their worthless foreign gods?” says the lord.
20“The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?
–from Jeremiah 8
Would you rather make a course correction or get corrected? Are you willing to do what is right no matter the consequences? Are you willing to be obedient to God no matter the warnings? Are you more interested in your eternity than your present?
Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem
1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
4We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
13But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
Paul Arrives at Jerusalem
15After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
18The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
25“As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”
Paul Is Arrested
26So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)
30The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
33Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”
Paul Speaks to the Crowd
37As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“Do you know Greek?” the commander asked, surprised. 38“Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took 4,000 members of the Assassins out into the desert?”
39“No,” Paul replied, “I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people.” 40The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.
–from Acts 21